A panditji once prophesied he would make his name in the medical field. Whether he himself believed that or not, that’s exactly where Puneet Aggarwal made his name. Starting with a fascination for computers and a tiny website design business, Puneet established Nirogam.com which for the past 20+ years has been selling over a 100 products for more than 50 different kinds of ailments all over the world.
Puneet started to make a living by hosting and creating static websites for small businesses and writing emails for people who weren’t computer savvy. That’s when he was approached by one of his doctor clients to market and sell her medical breakthrough online. When his father pushed him to say yes, he reluctantly agreed and started promoting and exporting a plant based remedy called Gourdin for diabetes.
That the product sold like hot cakes is something Puneet puts down to “absolute, pure, downright, bloody, goodluck!” That “Panditji was right” was another matter altogether.
In any case, that’s where it all started. Puneet soon realised that long term survival depended on diversification. He got in touch with people he knew who were in the business of herbs and decided on a few more products and with every packet of Gourdin, they started sending out free samples, explaining the use of the products. Puneet and his father went on to add another 10 products of their own to their repertoire, contract manufactured and private-labelled.
In the mohalle wali aunty’s parlance Puneet became “the guy who sells herbs on the internet” at a time when the internet itself was breaking news. In fact this was probably India’s first online Ayurvedic Store!
In 2008, the US economy was struggling and their Government tried to curb imports. USFDA discouraged Alternative Medicine and Ayurvedic products were intercepted by customs, and exports were being blocked for various baseless reasons. A medical journal claimed that herbal products had heavy metals and the whole alternative medicine industry was hit.
Puneet’s previously flourishing business went through a very difficult phase. He soon realised that they needed an alternative plan. For 2 Years they mulled over whether to continue or shut down, but the plight of patients who were benefiting from their remedies kept them going.
That is when they turned to the domestic market. Puneet realised that there was a gap in the alternative medicine space. He was passionate about making folklore medicine known and easily available to people looking for natural alternatives. He knew that Ayurveda was well-known but people didn’t know who to ask or where to start. The idea of helping people to adopt indigenous medicine and home remedies drove him to keep going.
Being very new in the domestic market, I realized that the biggest thing missing in the nutraceutical space were products for the ailments for which there was no conventional curepuneet aggarwal
The company was re-christened Nirogam in 2009 and a further 20 products were added to the range. The biggest challenge was to get a payment gateway for herbal products.
Nirogam currently has around 1100 products and with a competent team, Puneet now curates well-researched, time tested, Ayurvedic, natural/organic supplements and health remedies on his online store selling to thousands of customers the world over.
Focus on making money over raising money. While investments help businesses grow, businesses need to first focus on growing on their own before seeking external funding. Also, companies must try and do more with lesspuneet aggarwal
Puneet believes in marketing only where and when required. He’s done everything from banner ads to PPC (Pay-Per-Click) to Facebook ads and more, but his motto was never to overspend. His focus was always on returns and he would stop investing in mediums where profits were not forthcoming.
He strongly believes email marketing is one of the most under hyped mediums of marketing. A lot of Puneets returns have come through heavily investing in email marketing. The other method that has brought in profits is reaching out to customers through marketplaces like Amazon. He emphasizes that being lean is the one thing which made Nirogam sustainable and allowed it to grow. No fancy hiring, no fancy offices, no unrealistic expansion plans. Simple business, based on profits and not GMVs (Gross Merchandise Value) is what clicked.
According to Puneet, Nirogam is still a startup, when it comes to the Domestic market. He’s constantly planning and strategizing to increase products in his own brand, and sell specialized consultations. Being one of the few people in India with the right mix of Technology & Ayurveda, he is consumed by the passion to use his experience in finding indigenous cures in areas such as Infertility, ADD and women’s health.
His philosophy behind what he does is clear. “It’s not the money that drives the business. If you do good things, money will follow.” Products that are formulated by Nirogam are driven by the “Why”. The decision to manufacture medicines for Diabetes or other ailments has never depended on the size of the market. All those products have been developed and marketed to help people manage their health problems effectively using natural and alternative forms of medicine.
There are so many problems for which modern or conventional medicine still does not have a cure, or treatment. If doctors are not giving you answers, you have to do something about itpuneet aggarwal
Puneets’s motivation was to educate people about Ayurveda and make them realise how easy home remedies, changes in diet and lifestyle and some easy-to-consume natural herbal medicines could help everyone achieve health and wellness. He is interested specifically in the discoverability issue. Giving people a truthful explanation about how Ayurveda can help them relieve their symptoms and cure illnesses from the root cause.His winning streak comes from his faith in adapting, pivoting and remodeling the business to changing trends. Nirogam now offers multiple services like online counselling, panchakarma and corporate workshops for stress reduction amongst other health related solutions.
I think the journey of each entrepreneur is full of multiple professional and personal challenges. Of the ones I can recount, adapting to changing market conditions, scaling up and sensitising people about the field of Ayurveda are the toughest ones I facedpunnet aggarwal
Puneet is ardent about making a difference to people’s perspective on health. He realised very soon that there are so many ailments and not many treatments or much help available. People are constantly trying to find cures online. He made it his business to be there where people are searching. Nirogam focuses on providing answers to people who don’t know what to buy.
Puneet strongly believes that this passion to help people and empower them to take charge of their health is what made Nirogam a success.
If you’re looking for the moral of the story, in Puneet’s words “Help others to help yourself”.
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